Data for Good
THE CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION
Massive change is underway in the energy landscape as countries, cities, and communities grapple with climate change. Cities and rural areas are highly vulnerable to heat, storms, flooding, and pollution. Unfortunately, the communities who bear the brunt of these harsh impacts are too often non-white and lower-income. They face a barrage of unfair burdens in many areas, including housing, healthcare, and energy.
WHAT IS ENERGY BURDEN?
Energy burden is a measure of affordability. It’s the percentage of a household’s income spent on electricity and gas bills; in the United States, an energy burden of three or four percent is typical. An energy burden greater than six percent of income is considered high, while those greater than 10 percent are severe.
Many circumstances can contribute to these unaffordable bills, including unhealthy housing conditions, income inequality, and lack of access to opportunities and the levers of power and information that drive policy change.
*The data in this graphic are specific to Atlanta, GA
BURDENS BUNDLE TOGETHER
Due to historic and unjust policies, burdens tend to cluster together making daily life very challenging. People who experience higher energy burdens also frequently have higher rates of heat stress, asthma, chronic heart disease, and mental health challenges.
CHANGING THE COURSE
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can intentionally repair the legacy issues that lead to this unfair playing field. The key is to start these conversations within the communities facing the greatest impacts.
The way to ensure that communities equitably benefit from clean energy plans is by
MEANINGFULLY ENGAGING THE PEOPLE
who historically and currently shoulder the greatest burdens to help inform and guide policies.
This helps ensure that change is fair and just.